I am currently in Vilnius, Lithuania in a coffee chain called “Coffee Inn” uploading photos while the Spanish guy in my dorm takes his stereotypical siesta. Let’s do this!
Krakow, Poland is one of the most awesome cities I have ever visited. In addition to being located within an ideal distance for a tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau — see my last post — Krakow actually survived WWII basically unharmed, so it has a whole lot of sights worth seeing (unlike Warsaw).
My first two days in Krakow were when I did the most sight seeing of the city, as I did one of the free walking tours that stopped by nearly all of the important monuments and buildings.
The main sights are the Main Market Square, which has St. Mary’s Church (above) and a large outdoor souvenir market. No trinkets were purchased, though I did send home a few nice items. I won’t ruin the surprise for a certain someone.
In addition to the awesome Square, which has more pubs than you can count and is actually built on top of the old city (which is now an underground museum), there is also a really awesome castle. The architecture and style of Wawel Castle is not like any other I’ve yet seen: brick red, many different chapels in several different architectures, dragon bones*, and a great view of the river.
* – recent anthropologists, archaeologists, and biologists have confirmed these are actually not dragon bones, but belong to several different creatures.
There’s also great nightlife in Krakow: pub crawls are everywhere; lots of clubs; locals are friendly and approachable. And, oh yeah, there are also these:
That’s a tram filled with disco balls, bright lights, and loud music. It’s bring-your-own-alcohol, so I had some Polish beer while talking to a Polish/Canadian dual citizen who happens to play hockey for one of their professional teams in Balice (just south of Krakow). We used his Polish speaking abilities for the best of reasons: getting girls to play pranks on guys. One of the pranks involved a group of girls approaching a guy and then instantly not being interested in him when they heard where he was from, regardless of where he said he was from. Good times.
And, oh yeah, check out the fancy Polish handy work:
My last two days there were more laid back, but just as entertaining. My five roommates for those two days were actually one group of Dutch girls who invited me to join them for the day. It was 98 degrees out, so we went to the lake a little bit out of the city center to cool off. The water was actually remarkably clean and was in the middle of some picturesque cliffs.
After a meal, we went out to a pub with some Aussies we picked up at the hostel and enjoyed some local beer. I actually didn’t really enjoy the beer in Krakow like I did in Warsaw, but it was cheap as hell everywhere, and it was with good company. All in all a fun evening.
I thoroughly enjoyed Krakow. Even in the heat, there was always something fun to do or something cool to see. And it was all really inexpensive. I definitely recommend this city to anyone and hope to come back someday.